City Council Notes: Oct 13th

Hello, my name is Sue Sierralupe. I am a proud member of George Brown’s ward. I am also the Clinic Manager of Occupy Medical, the free healthcare clinic that operates in the Park Blocks every Sunday from 12-4pm. I have mentioned in prior public comment periods here at city council, that our busy season is just starting up again.
This Sunday, we saw 53 patients. 28 were seen by our prescribers, 30 went through treatment, 14 were served in wound care. Support service aided 4 patients. We made referrals to our allies including Lion’s Club, White Bird and prescription support services. We fed and provided hygiene supplies for well over 100 visitors. It’s a busy 4 hours.
This Sunday was a bit more challenging to us not necessarily because of the increased numbers but because a segment of the population that we serve was agitated.
Come September, as the UO students return to campus, the police begin evicting the unhoused from their camps tucked away along the riverbanks. This makes them more visible than usual which is oddly ironic. It is no secret that our city is suffering from a serious lack of shelter for homeless citizens. Evicting them does not make them disappear. This is when we, at Occupy Medical, start seeing patients with signs of abuse. It is one of our seasonal upsurges.
This Sunday, as we were setting up our clinic, a member of our peacekeeping team came to get assistance to settle a problem at Kesey Square. An owner of a food cart there, had driven into the square, parked his car on the bricks and began yelling at the unhoused sitting by the Kesey statue. He threatened them and encouraged his dog to lunge at them. When my peacekeeper, who was on her way to her shift, interceded, he turned his abuse on her which included racist epitaphs. 
To our patients, this behavior, from this unstable citizen, was both outrageous and fairly commonplace. They frequently run into abusive people who are experts at finding victims that they perceive as voiceless. The news is filled with people like this attacking children, animals, the elderly and the disabled. The unhoused are attacked frequently. They don’t often report this abuse because they feel they have no voice and they endeavor it because they have no where else to go. Last Sunday, our people had Occupy Medical to serve as a safe haven. What happens the rest of the week?
What can you do? I will not presume to speak for our people but I am asking for their protection just as our city protects its other citizens. Please let our people have a place to rest this winter. Lift the camping ban. It’s the least you can do.

City Council Notes: Sep 22nd

Hello,

My name is Sue Sierralupe. I have been living in George Brown’s ward for over 20 years. I am also the clinic manager for Occupy Medical. Last time I was here, I gave a brief update on life in the clinic. We were having a brief lull in our patient load. This Sunday, our numbers increased by about 20%. We are seeing more children, particularly infants.
Last time I was here, I mentioned an enterovirus (EV D68) that was still a few states away and was causing serious problems for children and patients with asthma. Here I am 2 weeks later and this virus, for which we have no vaccine, has confirmed cases in CA, ID and WA. Believe me when I say that Oregon will be next. Since asthma rates for children in Eugene averages over 10% according to the 2013 study from OSU, citizens have every right to be concerned.
Our clinic serves a segment of the population that is often ignored. Health issues become more grave and harder to control the longer they are ignored. Many of our people lack the basics for good health. They don’t have good food, they don’t have heat, most of the time, they don’t even have dry socks. They are extremely vulnerable.
We are soliciting donations for respiratory infection control kits to be passed out at the clinic. These kits will include: masks, cough medicine, tissues, vitamins, herbal supplements, hand sanitizer, soap and information on disease control. We are reminding people to wash their hands properly, disinfect all surfaces and stay away from those that are ill. Although there are a few bumps to iron out on the Paid Sick Day ordinance here in Eugene, this is one of the changes that will make a difference for public health and I applaud you for endorsing it.
Our population is growing. We have more people collected in denser spaces, facing uncertain economic times and struggling to survive on less. One way you can help us is to open another rest stop for the unhoused so that people can maintain and recover from illnesses. Please remember that a roof is good medicine.
EV D68 is not the only disease that we will be battling this winter. It behooves us all as a community to build a climate in which all citizens can maintain good health: children and the elderly, women and men, housed and unhoused, rich and poor. If we work together wisely, we can make it through another winter and be better for it. Thank you for your continued support.

City Council Notes: Sep 8th

My name is Sue Sierralupe. I am lucky to live in Council member Brown’s ward. I also serve as the clinic manager for Occupy Medical. The clinic is shoring up for the winter at this time. We offered a very successful demo clinic in Florence with the help of St. Vincent de Paul last month. The citizens of Florence are interested in having us return and help them set up a duplicate clinic. They, like other areas of Lane County, are struggling to find enough health providers for an increasingly underserved patient population.
Last Sunday was probably our last calm clinic day before our “busy season” sets in. We served 47 patients within an age range of 18 months to 75 years. We also feed, thanks to community donations, between 100-150 people every week all within a 4 hour clinic day. The work that my volunteers do every week is nothing less than awe inspiring. I welcome each of you to come down any given Sunday for a tour. Occupy Medical is best witnessed in motion.
Our concerns for the winter are numerous. Our county is still vulnerable to the dangers of pertussis, H1N1, and other respiratory illnesses. We are now concerned about a new virus which is creeping its way through the midwest towards Oregon: Enterovirus EV-D68. D68 is an intestinal virus that manifests in the respiratory system. This makes it very easy to spread. It hits children and those with conditions like asthma the hardest. Those of you that have enjoyed the air quality this week are reminded how fragile Oregon’s air quality is.
We need to protect our citizens but, I fear that we don’t have enough providers in this county to treat those in need. Speaking personally, as a private citizen, I do not feel comfortable with offering treatment to our patients and then sending them back into the situations that worsen or caused the problems in the first place. This is why Occupy Medical works so hard to build alliances with other service organizations that can meet the needs of the vulnerable populations we serve.
I am grateful for your support of Occupy Medical. I cannot thank you enough for the new public bathrooms and our little hand-washing station. Hand-washing for 20 seconds with soap and water will stem the spread of viruses such as D68. I am personally asking you to open another rest stop before winter strikes us again and to stop the criminalization of homelessness by lifting the camping ban. These changes will make our service at Occupy Medical easier and it will make our community a healthier place to live in.